The Empty Walls Festival is a month long street art event aiming to bring colour, culture and vibrancy to the city of Cardiff – with artists travelling in from Germany, Italy, Spain and France and also closer to home from London, Bristol and Cardiff.
Each piece of work was to incorporate some elements of Welsh folklore and literacy – here French artist Russ has based his work around the poet Dylan Thomas.
Painstakingly Russ painted over many days on the gable end of a house in Inchmarnock Street in the Splott part of Cardiff. (It’s great to see the festival spread it’s wings a bit!)
The weather was VERY changeable each day but luckily Russ came fully prepared for the Welsh weather and didn’t let it dampen his spirits at all.
In the beginning was the three-pointed star.” – Tribute to poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
Long influenced by his Soviet origins, combined with his developing, illustrational style, Russ combines figurative elements and abstract shapes to create colourful, dream like murals.
Russ works in varying methods and materials from painted walls, wood installations to canvas paintings.” – Empty Walls
Here is a short progress image showing how the art began on the beige canvas and grew into this really colourful celebration of Thomas’ work.
I caught up with Russ each day and he explained certain parts of the artwork and what it all represented from Dylan’s work including the strange clock, his local pub, bottles of alcohol and a mystical fish!
The whole piece is centred around an hour glass and the sands of time with numerous other clocks too – within the work there really are loads of reference to Thomas’ work – can you spot them all?
Below after many day’s graft Russ put the finishing touches to his work and signed it.
Dylan Thomas’ images were carefully ordered in a patterned sequence, and his major theme was the unity of all life, the continuing process of life and death and new life that linked the generations.
Thomas saw biology as a magical transformation producing unity out of diversity, and in his poetry sought a poetic ritual to celebrate this unity.
He saw men and women locked in cycles of growth, love, procreation, new growth, death, and new life. Therefore, each image engenders its opposite.” – Wikipedia